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Hairy Bikers visit Jersey Ormer Hatchery

Date: 06/04/2013 | Posted by John Garton
The Ormer (also known as Abalone) is a rare marine snail that is considered a delicacy throughout the world. The natural habitat of the Ormer stretches from Senegal in the south to Jersey at its northern limit. Anne Port is the most northerly point where Ormers can grow naturally, and this is the location of Jersey Ormer Hatchery. They have been commercial Ormer farming for the last 4 years, taking Ormers through the full life cycle from spawning to plate.

Gary Whipp explains a typical day at the Ormer Hatchery. “We may spend up to 6 hours changing water in the Ormer hatchery for fresh water pumped up directly from the sea, to ensure a constant flow of fresh sea water.”

“We spend around 4 days every 2 or 3 weeks feeding the adolescent Ormers at sea. This involves placing fresh seaweed in the Ormer cages, also checking on health and growth rate at the same time.”

Jersey Ormers will make an appearance on BBC 2’s Hairy Bikers Best of British programme at 7pm on Tuesday 9 April. Gary is proud that his business will be showcased, “We love showing off  both our product and the beautiful Island that is home to the Jersey Ormer.”

“We were asked to get involved with both the Hairy Bikers and the Hungry Sailors because of the unique nature of our business and the fact that we are the only commercial Ormer farm in the Channel islands. Also, the Ormer doesn't grow in the wild any further North than the Chanel islands.”

Gary and his team are working with Michelin star chef Mark Jordan and others to ensure that the Ormer becomes a common site on top restaurant menus, both here in Jersey and around the world.

If you fancy having a go at cooking Ormers at home, they are available from from the Fresh Fish Company, Victoria Pier, St Helier. Be sure to watch Hairy Bikers at 7pm on Tuesday 9 April to find out more about Jersey Ormers.